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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jesus in Hebrews

According to Hebrews, what is the significance of Jesus’ work for the everyday life of the people of God? How might this be applied to your contemporary context (is there something analogous to the struggles confronting the recipients of the letter)?

Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin creating a New Covenant, which ushered in a new period for all the people of God who are ruled by faith and are being "assured" of what is hoped for and certain of what is not seen (Heb. 11:1).

In regards to the work of the every day life of the people of God, we need to: keep loving each other as brothers and sisters, entertain strangers (spread the gospel message), remember those in bondage, honor marriage, keep our lives free from this world, remember our leaders (apostles), test our faith being careful not to be led astray by strange teachings, continually offer God praise, do “God’s good works” and share these with others, and pray (Heb. 13).

Applying this to our context today, not much has changed, though more stress can be put on the author's call for perseverance. Faith requires action, which is proven in the many examples in chapter 11, and we need to "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" to follow the path God has laid out before us (Heb. 11:22).


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paul, God, and Ecclesiology


In Paul’s letters, who is God, which is to say, how is God’s identity shaped by the scriptures of Israel and the Christ event? Answer this question in one or two sentences. Then answer this: How does the identity of God, shaped as it is by the scriptures of Israel and the Christ event, impact an argument that Paul makes about who God’s people are (ecclesiology) or what they should do (ethics) in any one passage of your choosing (restricted to Romans through Thessalonians, not the Pastoral Epistles)?


Paul brings the God of the Old Testament who was the God of the Hebrews into a new light to the rest of the world when Jesus was crucified and resurrected...Paul is bringing this same Hebrew God to the Gentiles as the Creator of all, the God of both Jew and Gentile, the God of all.

Paul's identity of God's people shaped by the scriptures of Israel and the Christ event is best summarized by the following passage:

(My statement is that the identification of God's people is the church...not a denomination...but the body of believers be it a converted Jew or converted Gentile...)

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (New International Version)

12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized bya]">[a] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.


Monday, May 11, 2009

1 Thessalonians

If the only evidence you had of the existence of Christianity were 1 Thessalonians, how would you answer these questions: (1) What is the Christian message? (2) How would you know if someone you met was a Christian?

What is the Gospel message in Thessalonians?

We have been chosen by God to turn away from our sinful lives in order to serve the one true God who sent His Son to rescue us from our sins; His Son died for us, was resurrected from the dead, and is now in heaven and continues to rescue us from the coming wrath.
This answer uses 1 Thessalonians 1:4, and 1:9-10.

How can you tell through Thessalonians who a Christian is? It is through their works of faith originated in the Holy Spirit, the way they toil in their works (or occupations) through the love for Christ, and their patience stemming from the hope in regards to the coming of the New Creation. (1 Thessalonians chapter one, chapter two, and chapter three in succession.)